Ask a group of managers for their tips on providing effective feedback, and the ‘sandwich’ method is often put forward as a winning approach. The premise of this technique is that if a person needs to deliver some "negative" feedback to somebody else they should sandwich it between two pieces of positive feedback, to cushion the impact.

I asked several groups of managers why they advocate the use of the feedback sandwich.  The most common responses included:

“Some people won’t be able to handle the negative feedback so it is easier for them if you start and end with the positives”.

“If you are delivering negative feedback you want to finish on a positive note so that the person leaves the conversation feeling motivated”.

The intention behind people’s use of the sandwich feedback method is admirable – maintaining the esteem of team members is important.  Very few people perform at their best when demoralised or anxious.

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AuthorMichael Sleap
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Last Saturday the Geelong Cats crushed reigning AFL premiers Collingwood to win their third premiership in the past six years and stake their claim as one of the best sides in AFL/VFL history.  Geelong’s dominance in recent years is remarkable of itself given that the AFL is designed to share success around through mechanisms of equalisation such as the player draft and salary cap.  Yet it must be remembered that Geelong is no ordinary football club - their 2007 premiership win came on the back of finishing tenth in 2006, broke a 44 season premiership drought, and as recently as the late 1990s the club was on the brink of bankruptcy.  By the club’s own admission, Geelong was very good at being average.

The turnaround at the Geelong Football Club was led by Chief Executive Officer Brian Cook and President Frank Costa.  Costa and Cook applied organisational development (OD) models and techniques, many of which had rarely been seen in the football industry, in a bid to improve the flagging fortunes of the club.